Christina board votes to create superintendent search committee
After nearly two hours of debate, the Christina School District Board of Education voted Tuesday night to form a superintendent search committee and begin gathering input from board members on what they want in the district’s next leader.
Though the committee’s exact role and who would be on it has yet to be decided, the school board agreed to meet again on April 26 to further define the search process and discuss their own thoughts on what type of person the district should hire for the top job.
As a basis for this upcoming discussion, board members have been asked to submit answers to a series of questions provided to the board during a workshop last week facilitated by a representative from the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration. The questions cover topics such as overall search strategy, how to engage the community, what qualities applicants need and how these applicants should be screened.
Tuesday night’s vote represents the first official step the board has taken in the superintendent search process. CSD has been without a permanent superintendent since Freeman Williams took a leave of absence due to health concerns last August, before ultimately retiring in February. Robert Andrzejewski has served as acting superintendent since October but said he would likely not be able to serve past the end of the calendar year.
With that deadline now about eight months away, the board still has yet to define many aspects of the search, including when and how the community should be involved and what role an outside consulting firm might play in the process.
Board Vice President Fred Polaski said during discussions, he keeps coming back to the fact that the board needs to define a scope of work in order to hire an outside company or facilitator but also needs a facilitator to help them define the scope of work.
“I’m in a circular argument about where do you start the process and how do you define it so you can get a facilitator in here to help,” Polaski said.
The action item passed on Tuesday outlines a process by which the board would provide an initial search process framework and then turn that framework over to a search committee, which would modify it as it sees fit and then provide a recommendation to the board “in a manner sufficient to define the scope of work.” The board would then review the scope of work and hire an outside firm to execute the process.
During Tuesday’s discussion, the board did unanimously agree to strike a sentence from the original action item that would have made the referendum steering committee the basis for the new superintendent search committee after deciding the referendum committee was not fully representative of the community.
Conversely, board member George Evans, who cast the lone “no” vote on the action item, expressed concern that the process didn’t involve the board enough, noting that many successful searches have been “board heavy.”
“Not having the board involved, I see it as a disaster,” he said.